Brand Pillars 101 – Examples, What They Are, and More

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Nora Sudduth

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Who are you? What contribution does your brand make to society?

These are some of the questions that people will instinctively ask about your business. It’s not enough that you’re selling great products anymore. People nowadays want to know what is outside your inventory that makes you you.’

From a brand’s perspective, it’s also much easier to sell when you truly understand why your business exists, what you stand for, and where you envision to be in the future.

Now, how do you define all that? The answer lies in your brand pillars.

In this in-depth guide, you’ll understand brand pillars, how to define them for your business, and the best ways to implement them in your marketing strategy.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start a FiniSprint with me today to get personalized marketing guidance for a branding strategy that resonates with your target audience.

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What are Brand Pillars?

Think of your branding as a house. Your brand pillars are the foundational structures that hold that house up and keep it stable. Take one of these out, and you end up with a wobbly structure at best.

When you translate that to your branding:

  • Your pillars are what give your brand a cohesive, recognizable identity that resonates with your target audience. Your messaging sticks. Your marketing works.
  • Brand pillars are also the defining characteristics and unique qualities that differentiate you from your competition.

They can be your core values, mission, or strengths – anything that defines your brand and how you want to be perceived.

They help guide marketing strategies and communicate who you are to your target audience.

If your marketing lacks focus, you may not have established your brand pillars effectively.

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Importance of Establishing Brand Pillars

Brand pillars direct all aspects of your branding and ensure that your brand message, marketing strategy, and customer engagements align with who you are as a business.

Without brand pillars, your marketing could be a hit today and a total miss tomorrow. It would be like navigating without a map–you can’t know whether you’re on the right track.

They also enable you to communicate clearly with your audience so that when they think of your brand, they know exactly what you stand for. This is also important when trying to capture potential customers. Company pillars allow your brand to resonate with people whose values, mission, or goals are similar to yours.

Moreover, brand pillars are pivotal for selling in a crowded market because they set your business apart.

How can Brand Pillars Help Differentiate from Competitors?

You can never over-emphasize the importance of standing out from your competition. Brand pillars accomplish this by:

  • Establishing your unique strengths and selling points: Your brand pillars can make your brand attractive by clarifying services, products, or aspects of business that are unique to you.

*Hint: Strengthen your brand’s appeal by drawing inspiration from your audience’s pain points, interests, and needs. The more of their problems and likes you cater to, the more relatable you are.

  • Defining the values you uphold: People want to engage with brands that share their values. So, to capture your market share, your brand pillars should reflect core values that appeal to your target audience (and, of course, that are true to you!).
  • Creating an original brand story: The most popular brands don’t just sell products or services. They share stories. They inspire action by appealing to emotion. Brand pillars humanize a brand by creating a brand story that’s unique, relatable, and authentic.

    • If you don’t have a brand story yet, start by going back to how you began. Ask yourself what inspired you to start your business or how it took off.
    • It’s not an accident that we’re so familiar with Steve Jobs’ building of the first Apple machines in their family garage. It’s all part of a messaging strategy aligned with the company’s brand pillars.

Now, let’s look at some examples highlighting the importance of brand pillars.

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Examples of Brand Pillars

Take a look at these examples from two of the world’s biggest brands:

1. Apple Brand Pillars

Apple’s brand pillars are perfectly encapsulated in its slogan, “Think Different.” The company upholds values like innovation and unconventional thinking, which are not only promising but necessary for a brand to thrive in the tech world.

Apple’s core values, such as innovation and thinking differently, are also reflected in how the company designs its products and launches new technology. When the company launched the first iPhone, for instance, it revolutionized the handheld phone, making it a computer that fits the palm of your hand.

2. Nike Brand Pillars

Nike’s “Just Do It” tagline, coupled with its mission to bring “inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world,” is an excellent example of the company’s core values and mission, which form part of its brand pillars.

From these two elements alone, we understand Nike’s drive for innovation and aspiration. Everyone who buys from Nike understands that they sell not only shoes and sporting gear but also the belief that you can reach your dreams.

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5 Types of Brand Pillars

So, how do you shape your brand identity? You can start by understanding the five types of brand pillars:

1. Purpose

Purpose refers to why your business exists, how it started, and where it’s headed.

Understanding your purpose pillar will help you create a desired culture within your company by enabling you to hire people whose values and vision align with yours.

Being transparent about your company’s origins will also allow you to attract potential customers. Let’s take Microsoft, for example. The story of Bill Gates dropping out of Harvard at 19 to start the company has the “anything is possible” appeal that endears the brand to tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs everywhere.

2. Positioning

This pillar is about establishing your target audience and defining how best to reach them. 

To understand your market position, you may ask the following questions:

  • Which market segments does your brand currently appeal to?
  • Which market opportunities would you like to explore, and how?
  • Which market segments does your competition reach?
  • What are the threats to your market position?

3. Personality

The personality pillar talks about your unique characteristics. These traits or identifiers help create a messaging hierarchy, ensuring your message and its delivery stay consistent throughout your campaigns.

Think of it this way: Is your brand athletic? Elegant? Casual? What tone do you adopt when you engage with your audience or create social media posts? How do your branding elements, like your logo, design, and typography, look?

All of these contribute to your personality pillar.

4. Perception

Perception is how your target audience perceives your brand. You may learn what your audience thinks of your brand by:

  • Conducting surveys
  • Listening in on social media
  • Participating in online forums and communities

This brand pillar also tackles how you want to impact your audience’s perception of your brand. Do you want to maintain it? Do you want to change it? Either way, how do you plan to do so?

5. Promotion

How do you attract new customers and retain existing ones? The strategies you employ all form part of your promotion brand pillar.

Promotion strategies include social media management, marketing, and advertising.

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How to Define Brand Pillars

Defining your brand pillars ensures that your messaging is cohesive and consistent.

Here’s how to create pillars for your brand:

  • Evaluate your purpose: As you grow your business, you may lose sight of why you started it in the first place. It pays to ask yourself again what your brand is here for to set you on the right track—just in case you’ve taken a few wrong turns. 
  • List your brand values: Look inward to find what values you uphold as a brand. These can be beliefs that guide your decision-making, marketing strategies, creative processes, and more.

  • Flesh out your brand identity: Elements like your personality, branding tools, and platforms are part of your identity. It should also answer the question “What image do you want to create?” and be reflected on every customer touchpoint.

  • Know your audience: Start by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona represents your ideal customers. It tells you what they want, how to relate to them, and where to reach them.

  • Understand your market position: Where do you stand compared to your competitors? Are you happy about it? Does it need to change? What strategies do you need to implement to impact your positioning?

  • Gather and analyze feedback: Sometimes, there’s a disconnect between how brands want to be perceived and how they are actually perceived. Listen to what people say about your brand. Gather and analyze feedback to create informed strategies that click with your audience.

Remember: creating brand pillars, just like branding itself, is never static. It’s a dynamic process that requires flexibility and expertise.

But you don’t have to go at it alone. Book a discovery call with me, and I’ll help you create pillars that tell a compelling brand story and entice your target audience.

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How to Implement Brand Pillars

When you’ve defined your brand pillars, what’s next? Implementation. Here’s how you can implement your pillars:

1. Test Your Pillars 

Don’t set anything in stone just yet. Wait until you’ve tested out your ideas in the real world. That means conducting A/B testing, monitoring how your audience responds to your messaging, and tracking the kind (and volume) of engagement you gain on various platforms.

2. Create Informed Marketing Strategies

Use your brand pillars to develop and execute marketing strategies. Your core messages and personality should be consistent across platforms. The more precise your brand pillars, the easier it will be for you to stay true to them in all your campaigns.

3. Adjust Branding when Necessary

Branding naturally evolves. Don’t be afraid to pivot when your brand pillars shift, such as when your target audience has changed. However, you don’t need to adapt your branding to every industry shift.

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Brand Pillars vs. Brand Values

Brand pillars are the key characteristics of your business that set you apart from your competition and define who you are.

Brand values form part of brand pillars. For instance, if your core values include sustainability, it could be part of your purpose pillar. It will define how you develop your products or provide services.

Brand Pillars vs. Content Pillars

Brand pillars are the foundational structures of your brand identity. They define who you are as a company and set the ground rules for how you engage with your audience.

Content pillars, on the other hand, refer to the structure of your content strategy. They’re also not part of brand pillars per se, but they apply to your social media content, blogs, and web pages.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Want to learn more about brand pillars? Read the following commonly asked questions below:

Can Brand Pillars Evolve Over Time?

Brand pillars, like any aspect of branding and marketing, are dynamic. It’s natural for them to evolve as your business grows. Don’t be afraid to change your brand pillars when they no longer represent your core values and identity.

However, while changing your pillars as industry shifts happen can be tempting, you don’t have to. In fact, you shouldn’t. Your brand pillars should be foundational to your brand and stable enough to guide you even as trends come and go.

How Should Brand Pillars be Integrated into Customer Experience?

Your customer touchpoints should align with your brand pillars. In other words, every interaction, engagement, and strategy should reflect your brand’s purpose, position, and personality.

For instance, the skincare brand Rare Beauty is Gen Z through and through, but with a huge emphasis on women’s empowerment and being proud of the skin you’re in. They want to say, “You’re a rare beauty. You should be proud to be you.” That is reflected in every social media post, ad, and customer interaction.

You should also use your promotion and perception pillars to determine which platforms to leverage. Not every platform is alike. Some audience segments are better reached through channels like LinkedIn, while others thrive on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.


Brand pillars help shape a cohesive and authentic brand identity. These same pillars can also set you apart from your competition and allow you to stay true to your purpose and values.

Remember, people no longer just pay attention to the products you sell but also to what you contribute to the world.

I know it takes a lot to define these foundational pillars. Why not have an expert on board? Schedule a discovery call with me, and I’ll help you shape your branding.

Compelling branding sells. I’ve seen it happen for brands I’ve worked with, which have sold over $500M worth of products and services. Let’s see that happen for your brand, too!

Nora Sudduth

Want help with your messaging strategy? 

Get started and let’s set up a discovery call.

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Nora Sudduth
Nora Sudduth
Hi there, I'm Nora and I've coached million dollar clients of industry leaders such as Russell Brunson and Rachel Rodgers. From market positioning and messaging to offers and delivery strategies, I can help you stand out in a crowded market and get results.


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